Old Testament Survey Book of Judges

Introduction: This Book gets its name from the men that were raised up to deliver Israel after the death of Joshua. Judges continues the story of Israel after the death of Joshua just as the Book of Joshua continues the story of Israel after the death of Moses. The Nation of Israel suffers defeat and disgrace . They go in a repeating cycle of deserting God – repenting – deserting God etc. When Israel deserted God, they turned to and worshiped the heathen gods.

The key verse is Judges 17:6 & 21:25. Two facts stand out in this Book: (1) the failure and defeat of Israel and (2) the never ending grace of Jehovah God. This Book records seven apostasies: seven servitude’s to seven nations; seven times of deliverance by God.

God allowed Israel to suffer at the hands of the Canaanites. This suffering made Israel turn back to God for help. God sent a deliverer – when he died, Israel went back to the old pattern of apostasy. These events cover a period of 305 years.

A Brief outline of this Book:
I. The Apostasy – chaps. 1-2:5
II. The Period Of The Judges – chaps. 2:6-16:31
III. The Appendices – chaps. 17-21

I. The Apostasy – Chapter 1-2:5
A. Israel did not drive out their enemies
1. 1:19
2. 1:21
3. 1:27
4. 1:28
5. 1:29-33
B. Israel brought judgment upon themselves
C. The result of being out of the will of God 2:1-5
D. What or who are our enemies?
1. the devil – I Peter 5:8
2. death – I Cor. 15:26
a. enemy is: opponent; arch enemy; something that opposes us; an enemy tries to defeat
b. An enemy hates you. – Luke 1:71
3. Colossians 1:21 – enemies in your mind
E. If we do not get rid of our enemies – they will defeat us

II. The Period Of The Judges – 2:6-16:31
A. Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord & served Baalim – 2:11
B. They forsook the Lord for other gods – vs 12
C. They forsook the Lord for Baal and Ashtaroth – vs 13

The Book of Judges
The key verse is Judges 17:6 & 21:25
These events cover a period of 305 years
Human Writer: Traditionally, Samuel has been considered the human writer.
Central message: Failure through compromise

D. The Book of Judges is a warning of the consequences of compromise
1. the same problem exists today among Christians
2. a person gets saved – experiences battles and victories through the power of God in their
3. just as Israel became “settled” into their new land, the Christian becomes “settled” in
their new life in Christ. Complacency about the things of God begins to set in
4. when they need God – they call upon Him – then they don’t need Him for a while and
turn back to their old ways. Perhaps, to some, they look at God as if He were a “genie.”
They let the genie out of the bottle for a “wish” when they need help. Then … they put
Him back into the bottle until they need Him again.
5. this cycle of backsliding, tribulation and deliverance is too often the norm.
6. it was that way in the Nation of Israel and it is so in the lives of many Christians today.

There are 12 Judges listed
Othniel – Ehud -Shamgar – Deborah and Barak – Gideon – Tola – Jair – Jephthah – Ibzan
Elon – Abdon – and Samson
There were seven apostasies
each with the phrase “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
As a Bible Survey – we will cover the highlights of this Book and the Judges

III. The First Apostasy
A. Chapter 3 vs 5-8
B. Intermarriage among the ungodly
C. They worshipped the false gods of those they lived among and married into
D. God was angry and sold them to their enemy for 8 years

IV. The First Judge – Othniel – vs 9-11
A. God people – Israel – cried to the Lord for deliverance – God’s mercy and grace delivered
B. The land had rest for 40 years.
C. Israel again becomes apostate and serves an enemy – this time – 18 years
D. They cry unto the Lord again – Judges 3:15 – God, again, raises up a deliverer.

Gideon – The 6th Judge – Judges 6:11-17 & 34-40

V. Knowing God’s Will For Your Life
A. Israel falls into sin: vs 1; their 4th apostasy vs 6-10
B. God raises up Gideon as a Judge; Vs 11-13
a. God chose the weak to confound the mighty – I Cor. 1:26-31
b. Gideon was the son of a farmer – threshed wheat vs 11 (Judges 6)
C. Gideon is reluctant to accept God’s call vs 15
a. God says that He will use Gideon & reaffirms God’s calling
b. Gideon wants to make sure – he ask for a sign vs 17
c. God never calls anyone to a special task without giving you a special grace to perform
it. God will be there and stand by in the time of need vs 16
d. sometimes we may be reluctant to follow God’s will
1. we may be afraid of the outcome
2. we may not be sure that it is God’s will for us
D. Gideon’s Certainty or He made sure it was God’s will for him – the sign of vs 17
a. vs 36-40 – the fleece
b. Gideon seeks God’s perfect will
c. I don’t believe he is trying to get out of this job, but he wants to be 100% sure that he is
doing God’s will. If it is Gideon’s will, he will pay a big price.
VI. God’s Will for Gideon Judges 6:25-32
A. Destroy the altars of Baal & cut down the grove
a. spiritual apostasy brought national humiliation to Israel
b. the distress could not be relieved until the sin is destroyed – this had to be done 1st
in order to receive deliverance
c. it is useless to treat the symptoms if the disease is untouched
B. Vs 26 – erect an altar to God & sacrifice to God on it
a. take the evil & destroy it and then take that same place & build something great for God
b. destroying the altars to Baal was only ½ the job
c. the Baal worship had to be replaced with worship of the true God
1. one can repent of sin – to be sorry for it – turn from it: what will they turn to?
2. Example: the drunkard can turn from booze – that’s good, but that doesn’t mean he is
saved simply by the act of quitting booze
3. Matthew 12:43-45 – it is vain to cast out the evil spirit (sin) unless we fill its place
with a better spirit. Conviction of sin must be followed by repentance and the
creation of a new heart.

Conclusion: Israel’s continual problem was that they did not totally destroy their enemies. They lived among them and became like them. Israel brought defeat to themselves, they became their own worst enemy.
The same with a Christian, we must remove/destroy our enemies; the sin that defeats us. It may be ingratitude, unforgiveness, pride, disobedience, or any of a hundred different things.
If we do not remove them/destroy them, they will come back to “haunt” you and destroy you.
Gideon sought God’s will. Make sure that your life is in the perfect will of God & not in your own perfect will.

Intro: Vs 1, Jerubbaal is another name of Gideon. It means let Baal contend or plead. In this chapter, we have the preparation for the battle. Gideon leading Israel against their enemy, the Midianites. In the last chapter, we found that Gideon made sure that he was following the Lord; doing God’s will and not his own will. Gideon put out a fleece before the Lord, he wanted to be certain. We also found that God showed Gideon what he must do. He was to destroy the altars of Baal and replace them with an altar to God. Gideon’s job was a huge task; not an easy one. Remember, it was God who destroyed the altars of Baal by using a willing Gideon. But the battle is not over yet.

VII. Trust In The Lord Vs 1-3
A. The people did not follow Gideon because of the fleece that he put out before the Lord,
but because of his obedience to God
B. God reduced Gideon’s army, why?
1. God didn’t want the people to believe that they won the victory. Their strength could
not win the battle.
2. God wanted the people to learn to trust in Him, realizing that nothing can stop the
sovereign hand of God
3. also, many want the sweet taste of victory, but are not willing to fight for it

VIII. God Uses Faithful People Vs 4-8
A. Many are called but few are chosen
1. Gideon was to use only the most faithful, alert soldiers
2. God does not use unfit, unprepared folks to use
B. God’s plan
1. to reduce the amount of men to do the job
2. with less men, God wins the victory. It shows God power
3. Gideon and the men had to put total faith in God to win the victory
II Timothy 2:1-4
4. I Corinthians 1:18, 2529
5. Romans 8:31 (if God be for us …) You may sometimes face insurmountable odds in
some battle that you may face, God’s plan for you may not sometimes make sense to
you, but have faith in God and His Word and let Him win the victory through you.
6. God’s ways always work

IX.. Some Christians Miss Opportunities To Be Called Into God’s Army
A. Not only calls but He equips – Ephesians 6:12-17 (amour of God)
B. God cannot use those who fail to put on the whole armor of God
1. shows lack of faith
2. shows lack of obedience
3. He tells us to “return home” as in the parable of the laborers Matt. 20:16
(many are called/few chosen).

X . Gideon
A. Weakness
1. Doubt and lack of faith – grieving the Holy Spirit
2. Gideon overcame them with God’s help. Gideon had the same faults all of us have,
the answer is trusting in God and His Word … believing and acting upon that belief.
3. God’s ways always work
B. Strengths
1. Gideon had courage and strong leadership
2. Gideon was obedient to God

XI. The Battle Is The Lord’s Vs 21-25
A. God used only 300 men
1. blew trumpets & broke pitchers – vs 19
2. cried “Sword of the Lord and of Gideon” vs 20
B. The enemy vs 12
1. their number was great “like grasshoppers”
2. they greatly out numbered Israel and were ready to devour them just as “grasshoppers’
devour a crop
3. your problems may loom over you in such a way that may seem impossible for you to
win. They may seem ready to devour you.
4. the answer is to trust in the Lord and in His Word. God’s ways always work.
C. this may seem like a strange way to fight a battle
1. God chose this way
2. God will win the victory
D. Every Christian is given a Sword to fight with; Hebrews 4:12
1. it is a “lamp and a light” Psalms 119:105
2. break open the Word of God and let God go before you, leading the way to victory
E. There are many victories to be won
1. answered prayers
2. salvation of souls
3. overcoming temptation
4. overcoming discouragement and defeat
5. winning over the old man
6. I John 5:4; our faith
7. victory over self
8. obedience
9. being made useful for God’s service
10. victory over the devil

God uses faithful obedient people. He used Gideon, a farm boy. God uses the unlovely, the likely and the unloved. No battle or struggle is to big for God. He can win and wants to use you to win. The KEY: our obedience and complete faith and trust in God and in His Word.

1. God chose the meek to confound the mighty – I Cor. 1:26-29

2. When God calls a person to a special task or job, He will give special grace to perform it.

3. God will stand by in the time of need – Judges 6:16

4. Gideon’s job was to raise an army to destroy the altars of baal and erect an altar to God –
then sacrifice to God. Gideon raised an army of 300 men.

5. To destroy baal’s altars would show true repentance and revival among the Israelites

6. Destroying the altars was only ½ the job; the other half is replacing that with the things of the
True God.

7. Conviction of sin must be followed by the creation of a new heart.
Example: you may confess your sins to God, but don’t replace that sin with: reading your
Bible on a regular basis; prayer; going to church etc. Result, you don’t get the victory that God
has for you. Example: you may confess your sins, but don’t get rid of them, continue on in
them – result, you don’t get the victory that God has for you.

8. Gideon overcame doubt, fear, lack of faith, grieving the Spirit. He received, in it’s place,
courage, obedience to God, strong leadership qualities.
False gods – Judges 10:6-8
A. Vs 6 – baalim / baal: lascivious ceremonies – human sacrifices
B. Vs 6 – ashtaroth – plural form of Canaanite goddess of fertility – ashtoreth. Lewd rites of
worship – represented by idols I Kings 11:5 II Kings 23:13. Her male escort was baal.
They remained for more than 3 ½ centuries till Joash demolished them.
Sometimes connected with Venus, the goddess of love.
C. Vs 6 – gods of ammon was molech – gruesome orgies – sacrificed little children.
An image of the god was heated and bodies of slain children were placed in its arms.
D. Vs 6 – gods of the Philistines – dagon – the fish god. A human figure terminating in a fish.
E. Vs 6 – gods of Moab – chemosh – offered human sacrifices. Identified by historians with baal,
zebub, mars, saturn, as a star of ill omen. Judges 11:24 Numbers 21:29
F. Vs 6 – gods of Syria – bel and saturn, jupiter and astarte . Worshipped many gods. Chief
god was asshur, founded by a man named Asshur who build Nineveh.
G. Vs 6 – gods of Zidon – ashtaroth – same as “B” above
Vs 6 – They replaced worship of God with something else.
Vs 7 – God was angry – sold them into the hands of their enemy – 18 years.
Sin always has a price tag. Sin owns you, enslaves you and rules you. Here, – Philistines;
lived on the West of the Israelites, and the children of Ammon on the East –
Surrounded by their enemies.
Vs 14 – When trouble & trials comes – call unto your gods.
Vs 15-16 – They had to repent and put away their sins and serve the Lord God before God would
deliver them.

Samson -13th Judge

Background: Israel was 40 years captive to the Philistines because of their sin. Chapter 2 gives the events of the birth of Samson.
Nazarite vow – taken by Samson, Samuel, John the Baptist.
Distinguishing traits: 3 principal marks
1. Renunciation of wine Numbers 6:2 – Judges 13:4, 7,14
2. Not to use a razor Numbers 6:5. I Cor. 11:14 – long hair is a reproach to a man. The
separated one was willing to bear rejection for the Lord.
3. Avoiding contact with a dead body Numbers 6:6. He was not expected to withdraw from
society, be celibate or be like a monk.These things are an outward symbol of yieldedness
which finds joy in the Lord.
Reasons for assuming the vow
1. Before the birth of the child
2. By one in distress or in trouble
3. By women suspected by their husband of unfaithfulness in marriage – until the suspicion is
4. Women and slaves could take the vow only if the husband or master sanctioned it.

Time period of the vow – anywhere from 30 days to a life time.
It was for one wholly separated unto the Lord.
New Testament verses for Christian separation: II Cor. 6:14-17 – I Thess. 5:22 – I Peter 1:15-16
I Peter 2:11- Romans 6:13-16 – separation in desire, motive and act
Compromise is not necessarily from contact with evil in this world, but from complicity with, and conformity to the sin / evil.
God cannot fully use and bless His children who are in compromise with sin.
God rewards the separated Christian: I Timothy 2:19-21.

Judges 14 – Samson – The 13th Judge – A Type Of Carnal Believer

I. Compromise of Samson
A. Vs 6 & 8 Samson violates his vow – Avoiding contact with a dead body: Numbers 6:6
B. Compromise leads to weakness in our spiritual lives. Samson begins a long road to
self destruction
C. Samson’s riddle – the pride of life: I John 2:16
1. vs 12 – he gambles / bets
2. vs 14 – they can’t guess his riddle
3. vs 15 – the enemy entices his wife to reveal the riddle – the devil can uses others to cause
your downfall
4. vs 20 – 15:1-2 Samson’s wife given to someone else
5. 15:4-6 Samson is angry – sets 300 fox’s on fire
6. vs 12-16 – Philistines go after Samson

7. Judges 15 vs 6-15 – after repeated efforts, Samson reveals his secret
8. vs 17-19 – Samson’s last vow is broken
9. Judges 16:20 – Samson had lost the power of God on his life – because of compromise

II. The Chastening Of Samson
A. Judges 16:21-27 – he pays for his sin of compromise
B. God chastens those He loves – Hebrews 12:6
1. this involves God’s principle of sowing and reaping – Galatians 6:7
2. Samson’s love for the world – got him into trouble
3. as a result of Samson’s sin, Israel is not delivered during this time
4. we go on in this Book to read of confusion in civil and religious matters 17:6 & 21:25

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